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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Mailbag: Gas Stove Burners Won't Ignite Automatically

ignitor problem wrote:
I read your information on how to assess a problem with ignitors on gas cooktops. I have a KitchenAid KGCT305EBL0. Power to plug is okay. Gas is okay and lights manually. When knob is turned to Lite position there is no clicking sound at any burner. It seems I need to replace the spark module. Correct? When I searched for parts I came up with a spark ignition switch and a spark module assembly. Aside from a bunch of bucks what is the difference in these and what do I need? Can I replace this or do I need to call in a pro? And lastly, if I require the part that is almost $100 would it be considered bad form to park a box of matches next to the cooktop, tell the wife to use the ole manual light method, and spend the $100 on beer?

The above message was sent when you were offline, via your LivePerson site.

Message sent from IP:

You have described the classic symptoms of a burnt-out spark module. The spark ignition switches are the little switches attached to the knob of each surface burner. If the spark module won't spark no matter which surface burner switch you turn on, then the spark module is the problem. The seminal reference on this subject, which you mentioned, is my illuminating Appliantology article, How to Troubleshoot a Gas Stove that Won't Fire Up--this is recommended reading for anyone working on gas stove ignition problems.

spark module for a kitchenaid range--click for larger viewspark module for a kitchenaid range--click for larger viewYour range will use one of the two spark modules shown here. Just look at your existing module and match it to the one you need. Spark modules are easy to replace and usually rate only a single mug on the SUDS-o-meter scale of appliance repair difficulty.

You pose an interesting conundrum: spend money on the spark module to fix the stove or just light the burners with matches and use the money to buy beer. It's a tough one, I know--I faced exactly the same dilemma at my house. My wife wrote a haiku about it:

the bamboo reveals all
My husband loves beer.
Too drunk to fix spark module.
Click click click click click.

I ran out of beer one morning and, in a rare, lucid moment, replaced the spark module. Then she wrote me this haiku:

the bamboo reveals all
My sweet honey pie,
my love for you knows no bounds
'cept five seven five.

And she proved it by buying me a six-pack. Now that's true love!

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 01:42 ET.  [permalink]
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another ignitor problem:

I turned my stove on this morning and it came on like clock work but the clicking sound persisted. I shut the range off and still, every 3-5 clicked. I can't get the *@#$ thing to stop clicking without unplugging it! It's like Chinese water torture. Any ideas?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 14, 2004 1:46 PM  

I have the same problem - on a 50 year old Wedgewood gas stove. I don't think it has a spark module. Is there some thing i should clean that may be blocking the gas? I've stuck needles in all the little holes but it still won't start without a match.

By Blogger sally anderson, at December 02, 2004 12:59 AM  

The same thing hapened to me after I cleaned the cooktop. Two of the burners will light automatically, but the other two must be lit with a match. I also have cleaned the little holes. Is someone going to answer? Thanks.

By Anonymous Trudy, at March 19, 2005 10:58 PM  

Sounds like two different problems here: one, the spark module click continuously but the burner never fires up; the other, the spark module only fires up when the switch is turned, but the burner never fires up. In the first case, let the switches dry out and/or replace as needed.

In both cases with the burners, keep this in mind: if you have spark, gas, and air, you WILL have flame. Absent any one of those key elements, no flame. It's that simple.

So, if your burner isn't firing up, make sure you have a visible spark from the electrode and that it's jumping to the right place. You may hear a clicking, but id that spark is getting grounded out or misdirected somewhere, it's not going to be in the right place to ignite the gas.

Make the ignition ports in the sealed burner head are free of gookus so that there is gas present near the electrode to be ignited by the spark.

This ain't rocket science, people. But you will have to apply your nascent powers of observation to ensure the three key elements are present: spark,gas, air.

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at March 20, 2005 12:29 AM  

There is a visible spark and sometimes the burners light but not always. The flames aren't very big. Where should I look for blockage?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 02, 2005 11:47 PM  

Sounds like a bad burner valve.

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at May 04, 2005 7:07 PM  

I have a stove that keeps clicking after it has been ignited. I have replaced the spark module and burner switches twice. Still, click click click. Any suggestions?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 14, 2005 6:14 PM  

Be sure to read this article.

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at July 15, 2005 9:52 AM  

Hello, It seems that sometimes after i clean my stove, it keeps clicking. this happened one other time and I unplugged it for a few hours and it stopped. Today, i cleaned it and the clicking happened again. i unplugged it for 3 hours and it still clicks. It has a constant clicking i would say 2-3 clicks a second. when i turn on any one of the burners, they all light and the clicking gets faster until i move it from the "light" position. then the regular clicking resumes while the burner(s) is/are on. I have a frigidaire FGS379EC. Any ideas??

By Blogger dm, at August 08, 2006 3:13 PM  

Oh great guru of the gas; I have a terrible problem. My brand new Fisher Paykel GC913 cooktop had a minor accident. My wife tried to clean it and in the process she knocked off one of the burner assemblies. I tried to light it, then shut it off immediately upon noticing the accidental disassembly. The unit was clicking, and it has not stopped since. I took every burner apart, cleaned them with alcohol. There is no goo anywhere, the thing is literally two weeks old. I took apart the control knobs. No water, no nothing. It looks like it has never been used. Yet the clicking persists. It lights up and burns pretty as can be, yet the clicking persists. More than a day passed since the curse was placed upon my wonderful range, yet the clicking persists. I turned on the oven beneath to hasten the drying, if any might be needed, yet the clicking persists.
The gas lights up an burns perfectly. The clicking is like a pacemaker, perfectly consistent. There is no goo in the holes, none on the electrodes, none on the insulation, or anywhere else. Please help! I am stumped, and my manlyness has been called into question. Please help lift the curse.
By the way the igniter module says "with flame rectifier" and all five igniters plug into the module directly. Can the thing be missing some feedback?
I am grasping. Like I said: I am stumped. Help, oh great one!

By Blogger Peter Zsiros, at February 18, 2007 6:51 PM  

I need help,,,,, I have the same problem, got this Fisher Paykel about 9 months ago, well about 3 months in to it the other ignitors would click tick, tick tick, when the big burner was lit and put on high- so we never use the big boy, we also noticed if we took my wifes stainless steel tea pot off the stove it would stop--- weird---tonight I got home and 2 of the ignitors are clicking non stop- unless we unplug it- called fisher paykel and they stated to clean it with rubbing alchol- no worky worky- Any ideas desperate to stop the clicking...

By Blogger John, at November 05, 2007 7:20 PM  

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